The Modern Scholar

  • by Lawrence Friedman
  • 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The legal system in America is the basis of freedom as we know it today. The system is based, ultimately, on the common law of England, but it has grown, developed, and changed over the years. American law has been a critical factor in American life since colonial times. It has played a role in shaping society, but society - the structure, culture, economy, and politics of the country - has decisively shaped the law. Through history, the legal system has been intimately involved with every major issue in American life: race relations, the economy, the family, crime, and issues of equality and justice. The true strength of the American legal system lies in its ability to adapt to new and difficult issues.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A fine survey of this topic, if too short

I'm a law professor of some three decades' experience. I only regret Professor Friedman had to fit this format and leave so much out. Reading his book "A History of American Law," one gains vastly more in detail about, for example, business law, as well as innumerable bits of American history, vividly told. This is less rigorous and works well as a starter, a sketch of broad outlines.
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- Phil O.

sound, with portons that are extremely interesting

Some fascinating material on colonial law, some passionate and interesting observations on the laws regarding slavery and 19th century civil rights (or lack thereof). Starts to dull down in the 20th century material, when Friedman toes an absolutely middle of the road contemporary academic liberal point of view. Although he is attempting to remain neutral, there's not much doubt where he stands on the worth of the the New Deal, for instance, and his insistence that the fall in the crime rate in the late 20th century is "poorly understood," or even unfathomable (while having just discussed (with disapproval) the "rising prison rate"), will sound ludicrous to anyone but perhaps a contemporary academic seeking to keep his colleagues mollified and not ruffle any feathers. All in all, an excellent listen, however, and an interesting lens through which to view American history.
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- Darkcoffee

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-30-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books